Thursday 18th May 2023 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! From their website: “The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.”
Library staff are committed to offering accessible digital resources to those who need them. When we purchase books and other resources, our preference is to buy electronic versions. However, this isn’t always possible due to licence or publishing restrictions. We have access to some additional free services for qualifying users – please get in touch to discuss how we can help you.
Our email address is email@example.com, please contact us any time, for any reason. We’re happy to answer any questions: if we can’t help, we’ll find out who can!
RNIB Bookshare is a database of electronic resources offered by the Royal National Institute of the Blind. Their collection includes more than a million books and is completely free to use! All books can be downloaded in various formats and are compatible with screen readers and other assistive software. More information can be found on the RNIB Bookshare website.
To request an account, please ask your disability advisor to contact Library staff – this is so that we can make sure you meet RNIB Bookshare’s eligibility criteria. Library staff will create an account on your behalf then send you an email with the login details. Your account can be used until you leave the University.
Requests to publishers
Library staff can request free accessible materials directly from publishers. To do this, we must meet one of the following criteria:
- at least one print copy of the title in stock, or
- have electronic access to the title (but for disability-related reasons the student would benefit from a different file type or format), or
- the student will own a personal copy and can provide proof of purchase which will be sent to the publisher
This isn’t always successful, or very quick, but we are more than happy to make requests. If you need access to a specific item, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the title, author’s name, year/edition, and the format you require (eg. PDF, EPUB, or even a print copy). All enquiries are strictly confidential: we don’t share your details with publishers, and we’ll never share your personal information without your consent.
If you need access to a work available only in physical format, library staff can scan items on your behalf. These are only for personal use and must not be shared with anyone else. To make requests, please email email@example.com with book/article details. We will get back to you if we have any questions, then email the scan to you.
The library works closely with teaching staff to provide digital reading lists for each course. These are hosted in a web-based software package called Leganto. Leganto is compatible with screen readers and has options to change contrast, font size, and pop-up duration. It is also possible to export your entire reading list into an accessible file.
When essential materials are only available in physical format, teaching staff can request digital scans. These must comply with copyright law, so are usually less than 10% of the total work (more information on copyright can be found on our website). These scans can be accessed directly from Leganto and can be read using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
Many of our e-resource providers and databases offer features to help with accessibility. For example, VLEBooks offers a Readaloud feature, allowing you to use text-to-speech from any browser. A list of accessibility statements from providers can be found on our website.
Library staff can also offer one to one support, either in-person or as an online session, at a time that suits you. We can help with a wide range of queries; including how best to use our catalogue, Primo, help with referencing, how to find resources for your assignments, or anything else!
We can make referrals to other support services if you want them (such as Assistive Technology).
We can offer a gentle introduction to the library, either for individuals or small groups. We recognise that our users may be neurodiverse, so these can be held at quiet times to minimise distractions. Staff can help with navigating physical spaces and finding an area that works for you, locating and borrowing books, and more. We also offer a book fetching service for our users – let us know if you’d like to access this.
We hope this information is useful. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, please do get in touch with us any time, for any reason. We’re happy to receive feedback and answer any questions: if we don’t immediately have answers, we’ll investigate and get back to you as soon as possible!